Carl Angus DeSantis Foundation Celebrates First Annual Catalyst Awards

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The Carl Angus DeSantis Foundation recently held the first annual Catalyst Awards luncheon at LaCigale in Delray Beach. Pastor Bill Mitchell of CityLead Boca and Delray Beach police Sgt. Danny Pacheco Jr. of Delray Kicks were each honored as the inaugural recipients of cash grants of $32,500 each. The Catalyst Award program was established to celebrate the spirit of the late entrepreneur and humanitarian Carl Angus DeSantis.

Launched officially just over a year ago, the Foundation has already distributed almost $4 million dollars to organizations and individuals who exemplify the spirit of community, leadership, and excellence personified by Carl DeSantis.

“Carl was a man of action, he made things happen,” said Jeff Perlman, Executive Vice President at CDS International Holdings and Foundation Administrator. “He was compassionate, generous, and colorful. In a word, he was a catalyst. To honor his legacy in a way that embodies his character, we created this award to recognize the people in our community who show us what is possible when we take action to help others.”

One of the two individuals honored as a Catalyst winner is Pastor Bill Mitchell of Boca Community Church, whose CityLead Boca program has made a huge difference in the city and has now been scaled to other towns in Florida and the Midwest. The monthly program provides lessons in life, business, family, and community. Founded in 2014, Pastor Mitchell saw an opportunity to speak to the business community of South Florida, with a vision to raise the bar of character and ethics in the area.

The other 2024 Catalyst winner is Sgt. Danny Pacheco Jr., who founded Delray Kicks, a soccer program that works with mainly immigrant children, who are often wary of law enforcement. As an immigrant from Peru, Pacheco Jr. understood the children’s experiences and strove to create a program that has helped build relationships, taught citizenship, and brought positive change to the lives of the kids they serve, making Delray Beach a better community for everyone.

“There is no application for the Catalyst Award,” explained Perlman. “The work these recipients do speaks so loudly, that it cannot help but be noticed.”

The Carl Angus DeSantis Foundation also awards grants through an application process and these recipients were also recognized at the luncheon with presentations about each organization’s mission, which will be accelerated by the Foundation’s grant.

Organizations that were awarded funding this year include:

* The Indaba Foundation, which works diligently to change the lives of mothers and children in the winelands of South Africa.

* The Convoy of Hope, which helps local churches distribute supplies and aid to the survivors of the fires in Lahaina.

* The E. Gerald Kay Scholarship at Rutgers University, which honors the legacy of DeSantis’ long-time friend and nutrition pioneer Jerry Kay.

* The Mayo Clinic to support cutting-edge Alzheimer’s research.

* The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience to support Dr. Nico Spiller and his team’s research into neuronal mechanisms related to memory, decision-making, and movement.

* The Florida Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence at FAU, which coordinates services and support for families whose loved ones suffer from the disease.

* 4Kids which helps children in crisis through a variety of holistic programs.

* The Achievement Center for Children & Families, which provides quality early childhood education for the most-needy.

* The EJS Project provides teenagers with the opportunities to meet political, civic, and business leaders.

* Bound For College which guides and supports students through every step along the path towards success at college, breaking the cycle of poverty.

* Second Chance Initiative employs women who have overcome significant obstacles in their lives and provides the opportunity to create a brighter future.

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About The Carl Angus DeSantis Foundation:

Inspired by the innovative spirit and generous heart of entrepreneur and humanitarian, Carl Angus DeSantis, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Foundation that bears his name was established to honor his legacy while providing game-changing support for nonprofits and individuals whose initiatives model DeSantis’s guiding principles. With a focus on Civic Innovation, Faith-based Giving, Health & Nutrition, and Leadership & Entrepreneurship, the Foundation’s mission is to champion people of action who are a transformative force for good in this world. As the founder of the global vitamin leader Rexall Sundown and the visionary behind Celsius’ international success as a fitness drink, DeSantis had an illustrious and an inspiring career as an entrepreneur, however, his true talent was helping others thrive. Through the Foundation’s work, new generations will benefit from DeSantis’ extraordinary influence.

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